Lipstick lines, smoker’s lines, lip lines, lip wrinkles–these are the many names for those annoying, vertical wrinkles that appear above and around your lips. Whatever different names people may call them, there is a singular goal to be rid of them.
Let’s begin with the basics, how do we get lip lines, how do we prevent them and what do we do to keep them from getting worse? Just like crow’s feet or frown lines, there can be plenty of false information out there about how to clear out these lines magically overnight.
Here are some of the best advice on lip line prevention and treatment so you can feel comfortable in your skin for decades to come.
What Are Lip Lines?
Have you taken a close look in the mirror recently? Have you noticed any vertical wrinkles running from the top of your lip up to your nose? If you answered yes, then you do have lip lines.
Good for you, if you don’t have any right now but don’t panic just yet if you have started having those faint lines. This type of wrinkle often seems to sneak up on you because they form slowly over time; due to this nature of lip wrinkles, it’s a good idea to start preventative measures.
But before we get to that, it’s important to know exactly why and how lip lines form in the first place.
How do We Get Lip Lines?
As people age, the collagen and elastin in the skin begin to break down. These proteins are what keep the skin looking tight and soft at younger ages hence the onslaught of wrinkles as people age. Aging also causes a decrease in your skin’s natural oils. These oils keep the epidermis(upper layer of the skin) hydrated and give people the supple glow everyone craves. As these oils start to diminish, failing to maintain a proper hydration routine can worsen lip lines that could have been prevented by a simple moisturizer.
Sun damage is also a significant factor in the formation of wrinkles around your mouth. The harsh UV rays from the sun penetrate your skin and damage the DNA of genes that control healthy cell growth. Increased sun exposure corresponds to larger and deeper wrinkles, making it more difficult for you to get rid of them.
Fine lines around the mouth can also be developed from sipping through a straw, whistling a tune, pursing your lips in frustration, or even overdoing those duck-face selfies.
Smoker’s lines had been observed as a side effect of a long-term smoking habit. Smokers tend to form deep, vertical wrinkles around the mouth from the constant pursing of their lips each time they take a puff. Apart from increasing the chances for lip lines, smoking has also been linked to deeper, more prominent wrinkles around the entire face. The nicotine in cigarettes narrows the blood vessels in the outer layer of your skin, which decreases blood flow. When oxygen and other nutrients aren’t delivered to your skin, it starts to break down and crack hence the premature wrinkles.
How Can I Prevent Lip Lines?
Even if you haven’t noticed wrinkles around your mouth, it’s never too early to start the fight against lip lines. The key is to form healthy habits before the lines become deeply embedded in your skin.
Always use sun protection, this cannot be stressed enough. Protecting yourself from harmful UV rays is not only good for your skin in general, but it’s especially important if you want to prevent lip lines. The skin around your lips is extra sensitive and pliable, meaning it shows signs of improper care more quickly than other parts of your body.
“You are what you eat”, turns out there’s actually some truth to this expression. Indulge in foods that are rich in antioxidants, like berries, leafy greens, nuts, and whole grains. Antioxidants fight off toxins that break down the structure of the body’s cells; the more antioxidants consumed, the easier it will be for the body to combat the formation of wrinkles.
Just like any other muscle in the body, the facial muscles are affected by how much or how little we use them. Maintaining strong muscles will keep the skin taut across the face and prevent lip lines from forming as the body ages.
The goal of this preventative measure is to keep the skin vitalized and flourishing, by removing those old, dry, and dead skin cells. By maintaining the lips this way, there is a better chance to regenerate healthy cells that slow down the development of lipstick lines.
Choose a gentle cleanser to wash your entire face. Why? Make sure it has no abrasive ingredients that can harm the delicate skin around the lips and wipe away the natural oils in the skin. A cleanser that is unscented or is infused with natural oils like rose or lavender would be a safe bet.
The constant pursing of the lips for each puff tends to form deep, vertical wrinkles around the mouth. Apart from increasing the chances for lip lines, smoking has also been linked to deeper, more prominent wrinkles around the entire face. Furthermore stopping smoking means stopping nicotine from getting into your bloodstream, preventing its damaging effect of narrowing down the blood vessels in the outer layer of the skin, which in turn decreases blood flow.
While this might seem like a ridiculous way to prevent lip lines, it follows the same principle that got these pesky wrinkles nicknamed “smoker’s lips.” Like a cigarette, a straw forces you to purse your lips to draw out liquid from your cup. The repeated motion of puckering your lips etches wrinkles in the skin around your mouth.
How to Treat Lip Lines?
Botox works by relaxing the muscle of facial expression which through repetitive movement forms a wrinkle in the overlying skin. The orbicularis oris is a circular muscle that puckers the lips. Precise administration of botox into the orbicularis muscle with soften the vertical lip lines. Generally, about 10 units of botox is necessary for this area. Both upper and lower lip lines can be effectively treated. Botox is a simple office procedure taking about 10 minutes with minimal pain and downtime. Botox takes about 5 days to work and lasts up to 4 months in this area. Botox can also be combined with a filler for a better effect.
Juvederm is a dermal filler made from naturally occurring sugar (hyaluronic acid) found in the human body, which attracts and retains moisture. Juvederm comes in a gel that a medical professional injects into the skin under the lines and wrinkles; it can also be used to plump the upper and lower mucosal lips. Once in place, Juvederm starts retaining water. This builds up the fullness of the skin, reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. This smooths out the skin, providing a more youthful appearance.
The effects start to happen within a few hours of the injection. The treatment typically lasts six to nine months, or longer, before re-injection is required.